>> from the heart of europe, this is a world news on christmas day. hope you're having a good one. >> thanks for joining us here on dw. this is what is coming up in the next 30 minutes. mayors in indonesia - commemorate victims. >> pope francis uses his christmas day address to ensure strong condemnation of religious prosecution. >> after recent anti-immigration marches in germany, the president urges the country to welcome refugees and asylum seekers.
>> we begin by looking back at one of the worse catastrophes in living memory, the massive indian ocean tsunami that hit the region a decade ago. >> 230,000 people were killed when a powerful earthquake at sea triggered a freak wave on december 26, 2004. sri lanka, thailand and indonesia were among the hardest hit countries in the region. >> the wave devastated lives, coastlines, entire communities. in dozens of countries, people are remembering those who passed away. >> people of all faiths are remembering the victims today. at this mosque in indonesia, muslims offered special prayers to commemorate the dead.
at the sacred heart church, christians filled the pews for a special christmas mass. almost everyone here lost a loved one in the disaster. >> today i especially pray for our brothers and sisters who died in the synonymy 10 years ago -- tsunami 10 years ago. it was actually only the bodies of the victims that died. their spirits are still alive. we believe our brothers and sisters who died in the synonymy -- tsunami are now at peace in heaven. >> the tsunami struck on december 26, 2004 after a 9.3 magnitude earthquake in the indian ocean. waves as high as 35 meters laid huge parts of the coastline to waste. it was one of the deadliest naturald -- one of the deadliest
natural disasters in history. indonesia was worst hit. 170,000 died here. >> after that giant wave ripped through communities, killing thousands of people, survivors were left to deal with the daunting task of picking up the pieces after the damage and distraction left in the wake of that catastrophic earthquake. >> the disaster crippled local economies, with the tourist industry especially hard-hit. a closer look at how people in sri lanka are coping 10 years on. >> sri lanka is famous for its breathtaking beaches. we have traveled to the southwest to find out how the country has recovered 10 years on. 10 meter high tsunami waves came crashing over the island's coast. an estimated 38,000 people were killed. here, the flood was so forcefully toppled an entire
train. when the first tidal wave came, the train had to stop here. a lot of people climbed on it to say their lives. the second tidal wave came and toppled the train over the tracks. more than 1500 people died. >> this buddhist statue was erected to commemorate the tragedy close to where the train was passing when it was struck by the waves. just a few meters away is the country's only tsunami museum, built to honor the victims and as a warning of future tsunamis. she barely survived. she still has nightmares about that day. >> everything gone forever, and everywhere dead bodies. >> she says the community never expected such devastation. afterwards she said many did not want to go on living. these pictures tell a story of
death and destruction, but they also tell a story of how a traumatized community slowly got back on its feet. they attract tourists from all over the world. many are shocked by what they see. >> it is very touching, really. even if it's 10 years ago. i feel very sorry. >> people should not forget what has happened. it could happen again, so they should be able to get warned. >> the catastrophe led authorities to set up an early warning system like here in the provincial capital. signs show where people can seek shelter in case of another tsunami. international donations of more than 2.5 billion euros helped finance the system.
>> the tidal wave went two kilometers inland. they left behind a huge devastation. 10 years later, golf -- gaul is reconstructed totally and is one of the main tourist hotspots in sri lanka. >> new hotels are being built. tourism is booming again. the number of visitors has tripled since the days before the tsunami. business is good. his rooms are booked out, but it was a bitter blow when the tsunami hit. everything was destroyed. it happened 20 days after he opened. >> most of the big boats ended up here in the garden. >> he paid for the reconstruction with credit made available thanks to aid money. without international aid, he says sri lanka would not have been able to recover as much as it has.
>> we are recovered better than what it was. i hope it will never happen again. >> in fact, business is so good that he has expanded. he has moved a pool even closer to the beach. that is for the tourists want, he says. for most holidaymakers, the tsunami is a thing of the past. >> "dw" with that special report from sri lanka. pope francis used his christmas day message today to condemn islamic state militants and what he called their brutal persecution of shiite muslims, christians. >> tens of thousands of people gathered in st. peter's square to hear the pontiff deliver his speech. pope francis urged the world to spread a message of peace and salvation, especially after a year plagued by conflicts and religious strife. >> tens of thousands of
believers gathered in st. peter's square to hear the pontiff speak. his words highlighted the immense suffering caused by conflict, a message particularly relevant this christmas. >> i call on the savior of the world to look upon our brothers and sisters in iraq and syria who have suffered for so long from the terrible effects of war and violence. together with those of other ethnic and religious groups, they have become the innocent victims of brutal persecution. pope francis reminded worshipers of the dire effects of war on children. he said this christmas there were too many tears being shed. his call for reconciliation had begun the evening before during his christmas eve mass when he said the world needed tenderness
and warmth. the pope concluded his address with his traditional christmas day blessing to believers around the world. [speaking foreign language] for the world cost 1.2 billion catholics, the occasion marks the high point of the seasonal festivities. >> a woman's right to drive, it is not something many people around the world spent any time thinking about. but in saudi arabia, which has a strict driving ban for women, getting behind the wheel can land a woman in jail. >> that is the stark reality now facing two saudi women who defy the ban and have been behind bars for nearly a month.
saudi arabia follows a strict form of islam. >> women that are in custody will be tried in an anti-terrorism court, not just for daring to break the ban, but for the offense of speaking out against it on social media. >> a vocal supporter of the current grassroots campaign against the ban. it was launched late last year, after several earlier attempts failed. she used the internet to spread the word. >> i hope many women will join us this time so that we can end this crisis. to those men who want to stop us, i say your behavior is unjust. there is no law or religion that can forbid us from doing this. >> on november the 30th this year, she was stopped while trying to drive into saudi arabia with a united arab emirates drivers license. the other defendant was arrested when trying to assist her. the two have been in jail ever
since in saudi arabia's eastern region. there are a judge has ruled that they should be transferred to the specialized criminal court and react. activists say the court, established to try terrorist cases, is increasingly being used to prosecute peaceful dissidents and protesters. the woman's defense lawyers have appealed the transfer decision. saudi arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving. in 2011, a saudi court sentenced a woman to 10 lashes for violating the ban, though the sentence was overturned by king abdullah. >> in a move likely to inflame tensions, israel has given the go-ahead for construction of hundreds of new housing units in east jerusalem. >> permits have been issued for 243 new-home's in the northern jerusalem neighborhood of ramot. existing plants have been confirmed for another 270 in the
area. israel considers the area part of its capital. the u.s. and other world powers do not recognize israel's annexation and oppose construction of new settlements. i made a tense -- intense debate in sweden about immigration, an attack on a mosque. >> police say the fire began after an object was thrown through a window. about 20 people were inside at the time. one of the five injured is in serious condition in a nearby hospital. investigators are still searching for a suspect. back here in germany, the president has used his christmas address to the nation to call on germans to welcome asylum seekers with open arms. he also praised those who sheltered and supported around 200,000 u refugees this year. >> the message comes after a
series of anti-immigration protests that have shocked the nation. his words are being seen as indirect criticism of the movement organizing those protests. >> a message of peace which came after a turbulent year. in his annual christmas address, germany's president asked germans not to turn their back on those in need. >> where we can help bring peace is build a better future for others. we should do that with all of our hearts. >> an increasing number of migrants look to germany for their future. this year, more than 200,000 refugees applied for asylum in the country. 80,000 came from syria. berlin expects even more refugees to apply next year. >> this year i have been truly
encouraged by the fact that the great majority of us do not follow those who want to seal germany off from the rest of the world. >> gauck also spoke to those worried about the crises and conflicts around the world. his message was inspired by the biblical christmas story -- fear not. >> meanwhile, in britain, queen elizabeth focused her christmas day broadcast on a call for peace and unity. >> invoking the spirit of the world war i christmas truce between britain and germany 100 years ago, the monarch called for reconciliation throughout the world and in the u.k., which saw scotland almost break away from the union this year. she warned it will take time to heal those loans. the queen also praised the doctors and nurses on batting the ebola outbreak, saying she was deeply touched by their selflessness. >> we are going to take a very
short break and when we come back, we bring you reaction to today's release of sony's comedy "the interview." >> why americans may start buying their cigars in cuba again. al, the first board of call for anyone interested in studying in germany. >> welcome back. sony pictures' disputed comedy "the interview" started playing at 300 independent cinemas across the u.s. >> it's also available on some streaming sites, like google play and youtube movies. >> sony originally scrapped its plans to release the film after being the target of a major cyber attack blamed on north korea. >>decision. just the right christmas gift for some people. >> carols and warm cider kept moviegoers in l.a. entertained while they waited in long lines to see the movie. critics have largely dismissed "the interview," but for many
here is not about the film itself. >> this is a film i probably would not have come to see but because of the controversy i thought i would come out tonight and stand up for freedom of speech. >> i am here because i wanted to support filmmakers who were being censored i a foreign body -- by a foreign body because i don't believe anybody should have the right to censor a work, whether it is satirical or not. >> the film stars seth rogen and the movie's codirector, evan goldberg, made a surprise visit to thank fans in person for coming. it's a farcical comedy. two u.s. journalists are ordered by the cia to kill the north korean dictator kim jong-un. "the interview" is out online and in over 300 cinemas. the big u.s. theater chains are wary of showing it after hackers linked to north korea threatened to attack screenings. >> we stay in the u.s., where
police in the state of missouri have arrested several people were testing the police killing of a black teenager. the shooting happened just kilometers from ferguson, which has been the epicenter of recent anti-police protests. >> demonstrators gathered at the scene of the shooting in berkeley, calling for an end to what they call police racism. authorities have stressed the incident was different from recent shootings. police say surveillance shows an 18-year-old brandishing a gun before police shot him. cuban a call and cigars are what you might call forbidden fruit in the united states. that is about to change. >> last week u.s. president barack obama made a landmark announcement that he will restore diplomatic relations with cuba and ease sanctions. >> that means american citizens are allowed to return from cuba with up to $100 worth of local products. >> cubans are getting ready to
cash in on some welcome new business. >> he has been making cigars by hand for 48 years. now she's going to have a new market. she's helping to sell them to visitors from the u.s. she is enthusiastic about the new relationship with the united states. >> we are very happy. it's going to be fantastic. all of the cubans are looking forward to the relations united states will have with cuba and cuba with the united states. we are going to guarantee the take back with them the best quality tobacco. >> almost every foreign tour as two visits cuba brings home cigars. this chinese vacationer is familiar with almost all the brands. a tourist in cuba above all else
needs to try cuban cigars and learn a little more about the rituals and how they are manufactured. the cuban tobacco industry is counting on an increase in sales across the board. she is among many expected to benefit from president obama's change of policy. >> a worldwide trend that has hit the big time this year is what people are calling the share economy. there are a slew of startups capitalizing on this idea with new grounds like uber, lyft, and airbnb. >> experts say it is worth around $26 billion, which is why german companies are looking to get in on the trend. >> a new toy is always exciting, but then the novelty fades and soon it sits in a corner. sophia is only four years old and already has a large collection of forgotten toys. that is why her mother thinks it's a great idea to be able to loan toys to other families
online. >> it is practical because you always have a new toy. when it gets boring, you send it back to borrow something new. >> startup company, my toy chest in english, offers this service. for five euros plus handling fees, you can have a different toy shipped to your home every month. for a flat fee of 15 euros, you can order three twice. the founder thinks his business fits perfectly with the sharing economy trend. >> people no longer place a much value on owning things. they would prefer to have access to more things. there has been a different move in that direction. that's why we think we can have a lot of success with this business model. >> sharing instead of owning, and larger companies have jumped onto the bandwagon. bmw, together with six car
rentals, offer a car sharing service with drive now. an employee shows how it works. using a smart phone, he locates the nearest available car. he unlocks the vehicle with his customer card, then off he goes. the fees are calculated by the minute. the average customer drives 40 minutes or less. more and more people are finding that sharing a car is a better alternative to owning one, and once you have reached your destination, you can just lock it up and leave it for the next customer. more than 330,000 people already use drive now in germany. >> of course, bmw has reached a new target segment. it is people who live in cities, mostly aged between 30 and 35 who would normally neither own a car nor rent one. drive now fits their needs and is opening up a new business markets. >> with only 4000 customers, my
toy chest is not quite as popular as drive now, but it's a relative newcomer. >> there are 7 million families with children under 14 in germany. they want to play with loads of toys. i'm certain over the next three years we will have at least 100,000 customers. >> here and mike toy chest, they're working hard towards reaching that goal. the twice our current and in mint condition. every day the company buys 10 new products. once the toys are returned, they are inspected, cleaned, and packed up for the next child. >> while we're talking about sharing, police in hong kong are asking residents to return banknotes that fell out of the security on thursday. >> authorities say the equivalent of 1.6 million euros was strewn across a busy street in the city. many passersby helping themselves to an early christmas present.
police have recovered about a quarter of the money. they are appealing for anyone who took some of the cash to return it. today christians across continents and cultures celebrated christmas. thousands of pilgrims flocked to bethlehem am unpacking the public will -- packing the biblical birthplace. >> religious leaders used the opportunity to urge people of all faiths to come together. >> bells atop bethlehem's church of nativity called worshipers to morning mass. christians believe the church was built on the site where jesus was born. at the mass, the latin patriarch of jerusalem rate for peace between israel and the palestinians. there are also services at the church in damascus, syria.
tens of thousands of syrian christians have had to flee their homes to escape violence and persecution. >> we pray for syria to return to the way it was and for the stability and safety to return to the country. >> the prayer for peace unites christians across the middle east. in baghdad, they came together at this church, protected by blast walls. despite the dangers they face, many expressed concern for their fellow christians elsewhere. >> the suffering of christians forced to flee their beautiful homes and their countries and take their personal belongings to live in miserable places. only god knows how their lives look. >> for christians in the middle east, today's holiday reminds them not to give up hope amid the turmoil of war. >> here in germany we are right in the middle of celebrating
christmas. if you are in australia, the festival is over. >> while it is cold and gloomy in berlin, sydney had gorgeous summer weather on thursday. thousands of australians headed to the beach to enjoy the holiday. it is a tradition down under to pack up a picnic lunch, no doubt getting a bit of sand in their sandwiches. there were plenty of christmas accessories to remind everyone this is no ordinary day. the water and australia is nice and warm, i'm sure, but although the water in europe is icy at the moment, that's not enough to put off a group of people here in the german capital. >> every year since 1980, the members of the berlin seals swimming club has celebrated christmas day with a festive dip in a local lake. no wetsuits, of course. to prove how cozy it is swimming in water temperatures of five degrees celsius, they even sang some christmas carols for us.
♪ >> finally, it may not be the star of bethlehem, but the sun has put on an impressive display just ahead of christmas. >> this massive x-class solar flare is the most powerful flare the sun is capable of unleashing. while they pose no danger, radiation bursts are known to disturb gps and communication signals. surely enough, there have been reports of radio blackouts. here is hoping you sent your wishes to santa by snail mail. gorgeous. that is your world news for now. more coming up at the top of the hour. >> no blackouts here. you're watching "dw"in in berli. do stay with us. ♪